It has been a summer season of big change at Brighton. Whereas many golf equipment made a number of signings – and gamers of top quality too – it’s the Seagulls who’ve most strongly signalled their intent to compete with the WSL’s elite this season with their arrivals.
Chatting with supervisor Melissa Phillips and a sequence of gamers in pre-season, it’s simply the beginning of an thrilling mission on the membership, with a rebirth actually wanted after a turbulent 2022/23 season.
After two mid-table finishes and the skilled head of Hope Powell main the way in which, it was hoped the Seagulls can be in retailer for one more strong marketing campaign – and even higher.
However maybe the crux of their points rested on the departure of Maya Le Tissier to Manchester United that summer season. There was little in the way in which of a alternative for one of many league’s most promising younger defenders.
Objectives weren’t an drawback essentially – scoring 26 instances, the eighth-highest within the league – however preserving them out on the different finish was. Actually, it was an 8-0 thrashing by Tottenham that noticed Powell relieved of her managerial duties after 5 years with the membership.
Amy Merricks was twice named as interim supervisor, sandwiched both facet of Jens Scheuer’s 65-day tenure. He oversaw six matches, three of which had been WSL defeats, and there have been reviews that his ‘forthright’ managerial fashion was a trigger for concern on the membership.
However Brighton now seem to have settled into stability as soon as once more underneath former London Metropolis Lionesses supervisor Phillips. Two wins and a draw within the closing seven league video games of the season was sufficient for the Seagulls to complete eleventh, above Studying, even after shedding in a final-day relegation showdown with Leicester.
Highlights of the Girls’s Tremendous League match between Brighton and Leicester from the ultimate day of the 2022/23 season
It was not all battle, although, as Brighton reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Nonetheless, they had been crushed 3-2 in an entertaining fixture by Manchester United in Phillips’ first match in cost.
This summer season, Brighton’s squad went via a much-needed shake-up. A variety of stalwarts departed, together with captain Victoria Williams, Danielle Carter and Kayleigh Inexperienced. All in all, 13 gamers left the membership, together with three out on mortgage.
However 11 incomings, oozing in worldwide expertise and high quality, present simply how formidable Brighton and Phillips are.
“From the surface trying in earlier than I obtained right here, Brighton has a superb platform to go and be aggressive,” the Seagulls supervisor advised Sky Sports activities.
“The membership may be very formidable and we have proven our ambitions this summer season with the flexibility to signal high-calibre gamers and actually revamp the squad.
Brighton did attain the FA Cup semi-finals final season regardless of their league struggles
“It is a large rebuild and we all know issues aren’t going to occur in a single day. This can be a lengthy journey and an extended season, however we’re excited by the progress and the brand new faces within the constructing, the recent power and simply trying ahead to transferring ahead this yr.
“We’ve a pre-season underneath our belt and gamers getting back from the World Cup, new signings coming in, however in the end, we’re targeted on the combination, communication and id of the staff and doing that as rapidly as doable. We all know we’ll develop all through the season, nevertheless it’s been a extremely enjoyable pre-season.”
The transformation started in mid-June, when Pauline Bremer was introduced as the primary signing of the summer season from final season’s Champions League runners-up, Wolfsburg.
The midfielder can be a coup for a lot of groups, however particularly a facet that completed second-to-last within the WSL simply 4 months in the past. Bremer is a multi-trophy winner, successful league and European titles at Lyon, in addition to the League and FA Cup whereas at Manchester Metropolis.
Bremer joined Brighton after being enticed by the mission in movement on the membership, which has seen a wealth of nationalities now represented within the squad.
“It feels actually good. I am loving it to date,” she advised Sky Sports activities Information. “Pre-season has been nice, having fun with the seaside in fact, but additionally the onerous work with the staff. I am excited to get began.
“We set excessive targets. I am actually excited by the mission and to construct a staff right here that may be actually profitable. Everyone knows it wants a little bit of time, however we’re all excited.
“I believe we’ve got 13 totally different cultures now, it is actually worldwide. I believe that makes it actually fascinating and the range is a top quality as nicely and we use it in the suitable means. It has been busy however good to get all these top quality gamers in and to construct a staff collectively.
“Final season was a bit tough, I watched it from the surface however being right here now, everybody needs extra and desires to climb the desk. I believe we’ve got all the pieces we have to do that [finish in the top half], it is simply getting issues proper and placing within the onerous work now to achieve success this season.”
If Bremer’s arrival indicated how formidable Brighton had been going to be, their subsequent signing confirmed it.
Vicky Losada is a reputation synonymous with Barcelona, who’ve damaged the French and German stranglehold in European soccer. Having come via the membership’s famed La Masia academy, she had three spells with the Liga F champions, successful 15 main titles, together with the membership’s first Champions League in 2021.
Actually, at virtually each membership she has performed for, she has received trophies, together with Arsenal, Man Metropolis and final season at Roma. A participant of such stature would have a choose of locations, and like Bremer, spoke of the Brighton mission as a sexy issue.
Chatting with the membership’s official web site, she mentioned: “I believe girls’s soccer is rising and that Brighton has a extremely good mission that they need to develop daily.
“The truth that Mel Phillips wished me is a large factor, and I really feel I can carry a number of expertise to the squad and assist the younger gamers.
“I am very aggressive and a tough employee. For me, the staff is the very first thing, so I all the time put the staff earlier than the participant. I believe that is essential if you wish to create an excellent atmosphere which may obtain good issues sooner or later.
“I believe it [her experience] is essential, particularly with the younger gamers. I do know that there are different skilled gamers come into the squad and I believe that mixture is ideal to create one thing actually good.”
Goalkeeper Nicky Evrard additionally signed on mortgage from Chelsea for the season. One other participant jam-packed with worldwide expertise, she is Belgium’s No 1 and was very important as her nation reached the Euro 2022 quarter-finals final summer season.
She was quickly joined by fellow stopper Sophie Baggaley from Manchester United, becoming a member of former United team-mate defender Maria Thorisdottir on the south coast. The latter too has loads of first staff and worldwide expertise with Norway.
However it is usually maybe not the best shock that Brighton have managed to land such expertise. The recruitment for the lads’s facet has been a few of the greatest within the Premier League for years, with that now being mirrored within the girls’s staff. It reveals simply how critically the membership views Phillips and her squad.
With that being mentioned, simply what’s the Brighton mission that has attracted such backing from the membership with a number of high-calibre signings?
On the core, it’ll actually be to enhance on their league end final season and make themselves aggressive among the many WSL’s elite.
That begins with the gamers at your disposal, and Phillips additionally supplied an perception into how she has characterised her summer season recruitment drive.
“It is about discovering the suitable folks and what’s that, how do you outline it?,” she advised Sky Sports activities.
“We shared our imaginative and prescient with the membership and the gamers we went after. In the end, we wished to verify the folks we purchased in shared the ambition and values with the membership, shared the will to develop and stretch themselves and as such, we really feel we obtained actually good characters, actually good leaders and actually good human beings, in the beginning.
Melissa Phillips is getting ready for her first full season as Brighton supervisor with a formidable summer season of incomings
“After all, then the technical qualities, the expertise, the athleticism, these components all performed an element in it. We’re actually completely satisfied the place we’re at and the gamers we have purchased in.
“The thrilling half about our new signings is you might stroll via the door with that staff right now and it would not really feel like there’s 11 new faces as a result of they’ve actually meshed nicely. They’re like-minded characters and impressive. It has been enjoyable to be a part of the group.
“We need to compete within the prime half of the desk, I believe that is actually essential, and we’ve got to be in line with our performances to try this and be aggressive as nicely.”
After all, the proof of the entire above will come as soon as the season begins on October 1 as Brighton journey to Everton.
Phillips confronted Brian Sorensen’s staff twice in her quick tenure on the finish of final season. She received her first league recreation towards the Toffees 3-2, however slipped to a 2-1 defeat within the reverse fixture in Might.
Brighton beat Everton in Melissa Phillip’s first WSL recreation in cost, and face them once more on the opening weekend
Reflecting on these fixtures, the Seagulls boss mentioned: “Each had been aggressive matches, each actually tight as nicely that had been received and misplaced on the tail finish of the sport. We count on a number of high quality from them in possession, as they had been final yr.
“The opening recreation of the WSL, everybody goes to be excited for it and for it to be 100 miles per hour, so it is about how we handle momentum and put our stamp on the sport.”
Nonetheless, the largest check of how a lot this rejuvenated Brighton squad can obtain will come once they face final season’s prime 4 in successive video games between October and November. Not solely will followers be searching for their new stars to carry out, but additionally take factors towards the massive groups within the tightest of leagues.
One factor that’s for certain is the quantity of optimism and focus there may be at Brighton heading into a brand new season. It’s a recent begin for the Seagulls with challenges to return, however Phillips has armed her squad with the suitable instruments to make it a profitable marketing campaign.
Find out how to observe the WSL on Sky Sports activities
Comply with all the newest from the Girls’s Tremendous League throughout SkySports.com and app, together with unique options and interviews, plus devoted reside weblog protection and in-game clips from video games reside on Sky Sports activities.
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In the meantime, followers may also hold updated with all the pieces on and off the pitch with the return of Three Gamers and a Podcast, hosted by Caroline Barker.